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Title: A theory-driven experimental investigation into the factors influencing subjective and physiological music-evoked emotions, and the potential role of interoception
Author: Campbell, Sarah E.
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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Interest in music and emotion has been prevalent across the ages, due to music being a universal feature of all cultures across time. This suggests an adaptive function to music, and with the similarities to language, music has been heralded as the language of emotion. Music and emotion research has flourished since neuroscientific evidence showed emotions evoked by music are analogous to everyday emotions. However, systematic and rigorous investigations, driven by theory, are lacking. Therefore, the aim of the current work was to apply systematic and comprehensive methods to investigate music-evoked emotion, grounded in existing theory, to better understand what constitutes musical emotions and how effects can be explained by theoretical frameworks. Study one examined the influence of macro musical factors on eliciting music-evoked emotions, namely genre preference, song familiarity and song selector. Study two followed on from study one by investigating what influence holding autobiographical memories to music had on emotional responses to music. These two studies informed how to instruct the selection of emotional music. The second important question was to understand what emotional music does physiologically, as well as subjectively, as physiological response is a core part of emotion. This was examined in study three. Music's use as an emotion regulation tool is prevalent, suggesting music could be applied therapeutically to enhance emotion regulation. However, the mechanism by which music is used for emotion regulation has not been specified nor explored in the literature. Due to the growing evidence suggesting interoception is a core mechanism in emotional experience and regulation, linking the physiological response to the subjective emotional response, the role of interoception in the experience of musical emotion was hypothesised. Study three examined whether interoception played a moderating role in the relationship between physiological and subjective emotional responses to music, showing interoception moderated this relationship, supporting the development of a music listening intervention that aimed to train interoceptive ability. This music-based intervention was tested in study four, compared to an existing, validated mindfulness intervention and two control conditions. Results suggested the music intervention has the potential to train aspects of interoceptive ability. The use of comprehensive methods throughout gave interesting insights into the field more generally, particularly regarding music-evoked sadness, emotion models and measurement. Results provided insight into the role interoceptive ability may play in determining by which emotion theory one gains their emotional experience. Results showed people integrate physiological signals into subjective experience differently dependent upon their level of interoceptive ability.
Supervisor: Sowden, Paul ; Cropley, Mark Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral